The Factories Act, 1948

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Employment / Labour Laws in India (Latest Amendments included)

The Code replaces the following four laws: (i) the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, (ii) the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, (iii) the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and (iv) the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

Proposed & drafted Labour Laws

Laws That Protect You at Your Workplace in the United States

Objective & Applicability

Factories Act, 1948 has been enacted to consolidate and amend the law regulating the workers working in the factories. It extends to whole of India and applies to every factory wherein 20 or more workers are ordinary employed. Since the aim and object of the Act is to safeguard the interest of workers and protect them from exploitation, the Act prescribes certain standards with regard to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, apart from other provisions.

Factory means [section 2 (m)]
Means any premises including the precincts thereof where ten or more persons are working in any manufacturing process being carried on with aid of power and where twenty or more workers are working without the aid of power.

Very important Features of the Factories Act, 1948

The present Factories Act, 1948 consists of 120 Sections divided into XI Chapters, mainly dealing with procedural and enabling provisions to make the law effectively enforceable by imposing responsibilities on the· employer and occupier of the factories. But, as has been discussed earlier, the main - purpose of the Act is to provide for Health, Safety and Welfare of the workers D:t the Factories. These crucial provisions dealing with 'Health', 'Safety' and ·'Welfare' can be seen at a glance as under:-
Provisions at a Glance
  • Chapter ID dealing with 'Health' consisting of Sections 11 to 20
  • Chapter IV dealing with 'Safety' consisting of Sections 21 to 41 Chapter IV-A dealing with 'Hazardous Process' consisting. of
  • Sections 41-A to 41-H
  • Chapter V dealing with 'Welfare' consisting of Sections 42 to 50

In addition to the above, crucial and important provisions are incorporated in Chapter VI dealing with working hours of Adults (Sections 51- 66), Chapter VII - Employment of Young Persons (Sections 67-77), Chapter VIII - Annual Leave with Wages (Sections 78-84), Chapter IX - Special Provisions (Sections 85-91-A), Chapter X - Penalties and Procedure (Sections 92-106-A) and a Supplemental Chapter XI containing Sections 107 to 120.

          The Factories Act, 1948

     The Factories Act, 1948

Employee Health
Cleanliness {Section 11} 
Every factory should be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance.

Disposal of wastes and effluents {Section12}
Effective arrangements should be made in every factory for the treatment and effluents due to the manufacturing process carried on therein, so as to render them innocuous, and for their disposal.

Ventilation and temperature {Section 13}
Effective and suitable provisions should be made in every factory for securing and maintaining in every workroom; adequate ventilation by the circulation of fresh air; and such a temperatures will secure to workers therein reasonable conditions of comfort and prevent injury to health.

Dust and fume {Section 14}
Effective measures should be taken to prevent inhalation of dust and fume that may produce in the course of manufacturing process.

Artificial humidification {Section 15}
In any factory where the humidity of air is artificially increased, the State Government may make rules prescribing standards of humidification; regulating the methods used for artificially increasing humidity of the air; and directing prescribed test for determining the humidity of the air to be correctly carried out and recorded; and prescribing methods to be adopted for securing adequate ventilation and cooling of the air in the workrooms.

Overcrowding {Section 16}  
No room in any factory should lie overcrowded to an extent injurious to the health of the workers employed therein.

Lighting {Section 17}  
In every part of a factory where workers are working or passing, there should be provided and maintained sufficient and suitable lighting, natural or artificial, or both.

Drinking water {Section 18}
In every factory effective arrangements should be made to provide and maintain at suitable points conveniently' situated for all workers employed therein a sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water.

Latrines and urinals {Section 19}
In every factory sufficient latrine and urinal accommodation of prescribed types should be provided conveniently situated and accessible to workers, separately for male and female workers, at all times while they are at the factory.

Spittoons {Section 20}
In every factory there should be provided a sufficient number of spittoons in convenient places and they shall be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition.

Employee Safety

  • The machinery in every factory should be properly fenced. {Section 21}
  • Only the trained adult male worker, wearing tight fitting clothing which should be supplied by the Occupier, should be allowed to work near the machinery in motion. {Section 22}
  • No young person shall be employed on dangerous machinery, unless he is fully instructed as to the danger arising in connection with the machine and the precautions to be observed and he has received sufficient training in work at the machine. {Section 23}
  • Suitable arrangements should be made to provide striking gear and devices for cutting off power in case of emergencies. {Section 24}
  • Sufficient precautions should be taken with regard to self-acting machines to avoid accidents. {Section 25}
  • To prevent danger, all machinery driven by power should be encased and effectively guarded. {Section 26}
  • Woman worker and children should not be employed in any part of the factory for pressing cotton in which a cotton-opener is at work. {Section 27}
  • Hoists and Lifts in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 28}
  • Lifting Machines, Chains, Ropes and Lifting Tackles in a factory should be periodically inspected by the Competent Person. {Section 29}
  • Where process of grinding is carried on, a notice indicating the maximum safe working peripheral speed of every grind-stone or abrasive wheel etc., should be fixed to the revolving machinery.{Section 30}
  • Where any plant or machinery or any part thereof is operated at a pressure above atmospheric pressure, effective measures should be taken to ensure that the safe working pressure of such plant of machinery or part is not exceeded.{Section 31}
  • Floors, stairs and means of access should be soundly constructed and properly maintained. {Section 32}
  • Pits, sumps opening in floor etc., should be either securely covered or fenced. {Section 33}
  • No workman shall be employed in any factory to lift, carry or move any load so heavy as to be likely to cause him injury. {Section 34}
  • Necessary protective equipment should be provided to protect the eyes of the workman, where the working involves risk of injury to the eyes. {Section 35}
Facts [+]

More hours spent in front of computer screens is increasing incidents of eye stress and strain. Suggestions for reducing eye strain include: reduce glare by positioning computer monitors away from windows, position screens five to nine inches below line of sight, use drops for dry eyes or contact lenses, take a 20-second break every 20 computer work minutes.
  • Suitable precautionary arrangements should be taken against dangerous fumes, gases etc. {Section 36}
  • Every practicable measures should be taken to prevent any explosion where the manufacturing process produces dust, gas, fume or vapour etc. {Section 37}
  • Every practicable measures should be taken to prevent the outbreak of fire and its spread, both internally and externally. {Section 38}
  • The Inspector of Factories can ask the Occupier or the Manager of the Factory to furnish drawings, specification etc., of any building, machinery or a plant, in case he feels that condition of such building, machinery or the plant may likely to cause danger to human life. {Section 39}
  • The Inspector of Factories can suggest suitable measures of steps to take by the Occupier or Manager for implementation, when he feels the condition of any building, machinery or a plant may likely to cause danger to human life. {Section 40}
  • Wherein 1000 or more workmen are employed in a factory, the Occupier should appoint a Safety Officer to look after the safety aspects of the factory. {Section 40-B}

Employee Welfare

  • Adequate and suitable 'washing facilities' should be provided in every factory. {Section 42}
  • Provision should be made to provide suitable places for keeping clothing not worn during working hours and for the drying of wet clothing.{Section 43}
  • In every factory, suitable arrangements for sitting should be provided and maintained for all workers obliged to work in a standing position, in order that they may take advantage of any opportunities for rest which may occur in the course of their work.{Section 44}
  • First-Aid Boxes with the prescribed contents should be provided and maintained so as to be readily accessible during all working hours at the rate of at least one Box for every 150 workmen. {Section 45}
  • In every factory wherein more than 500 workers are employed there should be provided and maintained an Ambulance containing the prescribed equipment and in the charge of such medical and nursing staff. {Section 45(4)}
  • The Occupier should provide a canteen for the use of workers in every factory, where the number of workmen employed is more than 250.{Section 46}
  • In every factory wherein more than 150 workers are employed adequate and suitable shelters or rest rooms and a suitable lunch room, with provision for drinking water, where workers can eat meals brought by them, should be provided and maintained for the use of the workers. {Section 47}
  • In every factory wherein more than 30 women workers are ordinarily employed there should be provided and maintained a suitable room for the use of children under the age of six years of such women. {Section 48}
Facts [+]

The employer trend of providing on-site childcare continues as more businesses discover the positive impact child care has in attracting and retaining quality workers. Eighty-five percent of employers report that providing child care services improved employee recruitment and almost two-thirds of employers found that providing child care services reduced turnover.

INDIA, 2012: 20-year-old woman had labour pain, she had to give birth to her daughter within a rice mill in Alapakkam village in Madurantagam, 78 km south of Chennai state, where she was working as a bonded worker for five years for a daily salary of Rs 8/- (0.15$) (as against the norms of Rs 113.50 per day under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Under the bonded labour System (Abolition) Act 1976,a labourer should have the freedom to work anywhere and there should not be any advance payment that would hold him back.).

The owner of the mill did not provide medical help. Deterioration of their health without medical care has forced them along with other 19 employees at the rice mill to revolt against the mill owner. Based on a plea by one of the workers who escaped from the mill a few day's ago, Kancheepuram collector sent a team of revenue officials and doctors to inspect the mill on Thursday. The team rescued 21 people including 11 children.

  • In every factory wherein more than 500 or more workers are employed, the Occupier should employ in the factory such number of Welfare Officers as may be prescribed. {Section 49}

Working Hours of Adult Workers

Ordinarily, a worker should not be allowed to work in a factory for more than 48 hours in any week. {Section 51}
The workman should have one holiday for a whole day in a week. Where he was asked to work on his scheduled weekly holiday, he should be given compensatory holiday within three days of his scheduled weekly holiday. {Section 52}

Facts [+]

The Adamson Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. The law established for railroad workers an eight-hour workday with additional pay for overtime work. This was the first federal law that regulated the hours of workers in private companies in the U.S. The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act made the eight-hour work day a "legal work day" work throughout the nation.

People work an average of 45 hours a week but consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive, according to an office productivity survey of more than 38,000 people in 200 countries conducted by Microsoft. The most common productivity barriers reported were unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings, followed by unclear priorities and procrastination.
  • After obtaining approval from the Inspector of Factories, the workman shall be allowed to avail the compensatory holidays unavailed by him, within that month during which the compensatory holidays are due or within two months immediately following that month. {Section 53}
  • Subject to the provisions of Section 51 no worker should be allowed to work more than nine hours in a day. {Section 54}
  • The timings of work should be fixed in such a way that no worker should be required to work continuously for more than five hours; and he should be allowed to avail an interval for rest of at least half-an hour during his work in a day. {Section 55}
  • The period of work of a workman should be so arranged that inclusive of his interval for rest under Section 55 should not spread over more than ten and a half hours in any day. {Section 56}.
  • worker works in a factory for more than nine hours in any day or for more than forty-eight hours in any week, he shall, in respect of overtime work, be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages.{section 59}


Women is not allowed to work during the night hours from between 10 P.M. and 5 A.M. Factories act 1948, shall allow women to work in between the hours of 6 A.M. and 7 P.M. only.

General Duties of the Occupier
  1. Every Occupier should ensure, so far is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of all workers while they are at work in the factory.
  2. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), the matters to which such duty extends, include -
    • the provisions and maintenance of plant and systems of work in the factory that are safe and without risks to health; .
    • the arrangements in the factory for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substance;
    • the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as are necessary to ensure .the health and safety of all workers at work;
    • the maintenance of all places of work in the factory in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of such means of access to, and egress from, such places as are safe and without such risks;
    • the provision, maintenance or monitoring of such working environment in the factory for the workers that is safe, without risks to health and adequate s regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.
  3. Except in such cases as may be prescribed, every Occupier should prepare, and, so often as may be appropriate, revise, a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety of the workers at work and the organization and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision thereof to the notice of all the workers in such manner as may be prescribed. {Section 7-A}